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In 1751, the state of Pennsylvania purchased a bell from the Whitechapel Foundry in England to put at the top of the State House in Philadelphia. The first time they used to announce a session, it cracked. Being good thrifty people, they decided to melt down the metal and try again. This time they added stronger metals, but that only made the bell sound horrible, and still it cracked.

Finally, in June 1753, Pass & Stowe restored the proportions and made due with what they had. These two men proudly placed their names at the top of the bell, along with this verse from Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land.” The bell was never the strongest or the prettiest – but when it mattered most it rang out loud and clear. On July 8th, 1776, when a group of men gathered to...

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